15 Best Resorts in California

Written by Darren tcc
Updated on
Our travel recommendations are based on our personal experiences and research, written by locals and travel experts with deep familiarity with the destination. When you book a hotel or tour that we link to, we may earn a commission.

California is a huge place reaching across the majority of the U.S. west coast and has some of the most impressive resorts you’ve ever seen. With a variety of locations, landscapes, and lounging activities, California is sure to offer you exactly what you need. Mountains, beaches, vineyards, and beyond.

The land of endless possibilities exudes a vibrant energy and an unmistakable spirit of innovation. The state is also home to world-famous attractions like Disneyland in Anaheim and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, showcasing its vibrant spirit and entertainment prowess. With its thriving arts scene, culinary delights, and the melting pot of cultures that comes together in So-Cal, cities like Los Angeles and San Diego offer a dynamic urban cuisine. But let’s not forget the majestic cliffs of Big Sur or the sun-kissed desert sands of Joshua Tree, truly California’s natural beauty never fails to captivate.

So whether you are looking for something near the beach, a lake, or next to a river,  California is sure to impress. There is also something at every price point, so be sure to shop around to find something that suits you and your needs!

Here’s our pick of the best resort in California:

1. Miramonte Resort – Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is known as the vacation spot of L.A. and absolutely worth a visit. If you are hoping to live as opulently as the rich and famous, then Miramonte Resort is the place for you. Featuring an incredible palm tree-lined golf course, the golfers of your group are sure to go gaga for these incredible vistas.

Need some rest and relaxation? The Well Spa is the place for you. With massages, facials, wraps, and scrubs there is something to get you to take a moment for yourself. The resort also offers a variety of events each week to guests, be sure to take advantage of the yoga and poolside ice cream cart!

Website: http://www.miramonteresort.com/

2. CordeValle Resort – San Martin, California

CordeValle ResortSource: rosewoodhotels
CordeValle Resort

Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains, this is the most remote resort on our list. If you are truly looking to get away, this is the place to do it. Do you have youngsters traveling with you? CordeValle features full-service childcare for kids of all ages. They are sure to keep your child active and having fun!

With three restaurants on-site, you will never get bored with the meal options. From the high-end Il Vigneto to the more casual One Iron Bar every night will be enjoyed with a new dish and a bottle from a local vineyard. Looking to experience Northern California’s exquisite wines? Luckily for you, CordeValle has its own vineyard and winery alongside the world-class golf course, so stop in while you are out on the course!

Website: https://www.cordevalle.com/

3. Ventana Inn – Big Sur, California

Ventana InnSource: ventanainn
Ventana Inn

Big Sur is located just south of Monterey Bay and features some of California’s most stunning coastline. Ventana Inn is the place to experience this raw beauty and truly peaceful atmosphere.

Famed for its clothing-optional pool and Japanese hot bath, Ventana Inn is a place that embraces all sorts of beauty. There is also a clothed pool and hot bath for those feeling a little less adventurous. Daily yoga, tai chi, and pilates classes are only some of the fitness opportunities afforded to you with a stay at the Ventana Inn. The Inn is also situated on 243 acres of fields, meadows, and wooded areas.

Website: https://www.ventanabigsur.com/

4. Montage – Laguna Beach, California

Montage - Laguna BeachSource: montagehotels
Montage – Laguna Beach

This resort is the place to be for beachfront accommodation in Southern California. The centerpiece of this stunning resort is the Mosaic Pool which overlooks the splendid Pacific Ocean. Looking for recreation opportunities? Sportfishing, kayaking, jetskis, and sailing are all quick meanders from the resort. Be sure to contact the concierge for assistance with booking!

If you are looking for seaside golf opportunities, Montage is located within a quick drive of four different golf courses. Accommodations vary from single rooms to suites to villas on the water. Whatever you are looking for, Montage can provide.

Website: http://www.montagehotels.com/lagunabeach/

5. Terranea – Rancho Palo Verdes, California

TerraneaSource: terranea

To kick off each summer, Terranea hosts a seaside concert in June highlighting local musical talent for Music in the Meadows. Be sure to visit during the month of June to be able to check out the awesome view behind the venue.

Hearst Castle is a quick drive from the resort, the famed residence of William Randolph Hearst, newspaper and publishing mogul. Terranea puts a focus on sea-to-land and farm-to-table in all of its culinary endeavors. They even have bee hives on campus, so be sure to be friendly to them!

Website: http://www.terranea.com/

6. Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite – Fish Camp, California

Tenaya LodgeSource: tenayalodge
Tenaya Lodge

The grandeur of Yosemite National Park should not be missed by anyone, and neither should Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, the area’s premier resort located at the entrance to the park. For those days when you aren’t enjoying the national park at your doorstep, there is both an indoor and an outdoor pool to use whenever it gets too warm, or too cold. Whether you visit in the summer or the winter, there is always something to do on campus. Sledding hills on campus in the winter and climbing and archery facilities in the summer!

Website: https://www.visittenaya.com/

7. The Meritage Resort and Spa – Napa, California

The Meritage Resort and SpaSource: ecedha
The Meritage Resort and Spa

This four-diamond resort in the heart of California’s wine country is the place for anyone looking to disconnect and enjoy the facilities offered at the Mirage.

Looking for a full spa experience? Descend 40 feet below ground to experience Spa Terra. Featuring private treatment rooms, soaking pools, steam grottos, and water walls of one of America’s Top 100 Spas.

With nine acres of stunning vineyards, hiking opportunities abound around the entire estate. Bicycle rentals and hot air balloon adventures are in close proximity, so you can fully take advantage of the beautiful scenery around you.

Website: https://www.meritageresort.com/

8. Carneros Inn – Napa, California

Carneros InnSource: carnerosresort
Carneros Inn

With three full-service dining options, this is the place for the foody in your group. All featuring locally sourced food and wines. With an onsite boutique, general store, and spa, you are sure to find whatever kind of therapy you are looking for.

If you are looking for accommodations that provide a bit more privacy, try the Harvest Cottages. Each cottage comes with an outdoor tub and fireplace! With two different swimming pools, one for adults and one for families and recreation, there is always an opportunity to cool off at Carneros.

Website: https://carnerosresort.com/

9. The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay  – Half Moon Bay, California

If you are looking to discover nearby San Francisco, Napa Valley, or Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay is the place to do it. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Half Moon has one of the best views on our list of resorts.

With standard resort amenities, this resort capitalizes on its location and local activities for guests. Golf and swimming pools can be found on-site, along with three bluff-side firepits. Be sure to take a tour of Half Moon Bay to fully experience the local flavor and history of this stunning location.

Website: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/half-moon-bay

10. Embrace Calistoga – Calistoga, California

With only 5 elegant rooms all individually designed in the styles of unique wine-country villas, and a King Suite boasting the home’s original hardwood floors, luxurious calming wallpaper, and a flickering fireplace. The motto of the inn is “Eat, Experience, Enjoy and Embrace” and here you can do just that as staying with Embrace Calistoga is a truly culinary experience. A 5-star brunch-style breakfast is served to you every day and can be taken in the dining room, or at a private table on the porch. Expect snacks of sweat treats, wines, cheeses, and late-night chocolates, and if you are lucky to may even encounter some live music in the evenings.

Website: https://www.embracecalistoga.com/

11. Hotel del Coronado – Coronado, California

Hotel del CoronadoSource: hoteldel
Hotel del Coronado

If you are looking to experience a piece of history along with your relaxing vacation, then Hotel del Coronado is the place to be. Originally completed in 1888, this hotel has hosted scores of celebrities and politicians over the years.

With seven different restaurants, pools, and plenty of activities from painting to spinning, there is plenty to keep you busy at the Del. And did we mention it’s right on the beach? With a variety of different accommodation options, you are sure to find something that fits your needs.

Website: http://hoteldel.com/

12. L’Auberge del Mar – Del Mar, California

L’Auberge del MarSource: destinationhotels
L’Auberge del Mar

With a long-standing history in the area, L’Auberge del Mar is sure to dazzle you in a variety of different ways. With the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Fairgrounds and the San Diego Polo Fields just steps away from the front door of the hotel you are sure to be entertained with hours of equine traditions. There is also a variety of concerts and concert series that take place all summer long. One of the best spas in Southern California, you are sure to leave L’Auberge relaxed and ready to go for your next adventure.

Website: http://www.laubergedelmar.com/

13. Park Hyatt Aviara – Carlsbad, California

Park Hyatt AviaraSource: hyatt
Park Hyatt Aviara

If you have kids traveling with you, Aviara is a great option. Aviara Kids Academy will keep the kids entertained and active for hours on end. While the kids are away, you are invited to enjoy the top-notch golf course, which hosts the LPGA Kia Classic each year!

Looking to visit LegoLand California or the San Diego Zoo? Aviara is the place to stay to experience these world-class adventures. The Carlsbad beaches are said to be some of the best in Southern California, be sure to check these out for at least one of your days in the sun. No trip to California is complete without it!

Website: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/california/park-hyatt-aviara-resort/sanpa

14. Desert Riviera Hotel – Palm Springs, California

Desert Riviera HotelSource: desertrivierahotel
Desert Riviera Hotel

Top-rated for its customer service across the globe, this hotel will provide you with a more genuine and eclectic experience than some of the other resorts on the list. However, it is sure not to leave you disappointed. With a pool that is open 24 hours a day, there is never a dull moment at the Desert Riviera Hotel.

Need something to do at midnight? Just hop in the pool! Plus, all of the rooms are located right on the pool, so no need to go trekking to find it. Make sure to borrow the cruisers for a spin around town to check out the local Palm Springs flair.

Website: http://desertrivierahotel.com/

15. Four Seasons: The Biltmore at Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, California

Four SeasonsSource: fourseasons
Four Seasons

No better way to enjoy Santa Barbara than the Four Seasons. Featuring a variety of accommodations from rooms and suites to upscale bungalows.

The Four Seasons has created some really special experiences for you to take advantage of during your visit. Ever wanted to learn sand volleyball from an Olympian? Or perhaps surf with a champion surfer? This is the place for you.

Be sure to take advantage of the resort’s picturesque gardens during your visit. You can essentially travel around the world with a stroll around these extensive and stunning gardens.

Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/santabarbara/

15 Best Resorts in California:

  • Miramonte Resort - Palm Springs, California
  • CordeValle Resort - San Martin, California
  • Ventana Inn - Big Sur, California
  • Montage - Laguna Beach, California
  • Terranea - Rancho Palo Verdes, California
  • Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite - Fish Camp, California
  • The Meritage Resort and Spa - Napa, California
  • Carneros Inn - Napa, California
  • The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay  - Half Moon Bay, California
  • Embrace Calistoga - Calistoga, California
  • Hotel del Coronado - Coronado, California
  • L’Auberge del Mar - Del Mar, California
  • Park Hyatt Aviara - Carlsbad, California
  • Desert Riviera Hotel - Palm Springs, California
  • Four Seasons: The Biltmore at Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, California